Tips: Things to consider before your next interview...


Tips: Things to consider before your interview…


You’ve met with the Recruitment Consultant; dazzled the team with your brilliant experience and easy-to-interview style and, as a result, they have secured you an interview for the job of your dreams!   

At ISE Partners 1in 6 first interviews results in a permanent offer.  At first glance this may sound a lot but compare us to the industry average of 1 in 10[1] and we are considerably more likely to find you a permanent job than our recruitment peers. 

Still, that’s a lot of work on your part: 6 interviews = 6 x you need to find a way to attend an interview, usually during the working day; 6x you need to get out the best suit; 6x you need to spend your spare time preparing and researching; 6x you need to consider if you’re doing the right thing and; 6x you go through the emotional rollercoaster that is job hunting. 

At ISE we appreciate the work that goes in to an interview from your side too, and do what we can to ensure you’re as prepared as possible.  You’re representing us as well as you every time you interview too, after all!

Simple though they may sound, these are few of the things we hear from feedback time and time again.   All of these are little things you can do to improve your prospect of getting through to the 2nd stage and taking back the power of making the decision of to progress or not your own:

1.Show up on time:

Sounds a no-brainer but so many people fall foul of poorly- timed transport, misread maps, awkward street numbering, or just leaving too little time for the journey.   Equally, showing up too early can make you look over-eager and may make your interviewer feel awkward that you are waiting for them.  While you should always give yourself more time than you need to arrive promptly, you never know when you may be delayed.  If something does happen you should ensure you Consultant and the Interviewer know as soon as possible so it doesn’t impact you.

2.Dress code:

Ensuring you are dressed appropriately for the role and company you want to work for (not necessarily the one you are at!) is essential for those all-important first impressions.  Of course, how you perform is not based on how you dress, but nonetheless you will be judged so make it work in your favour!  Interestingly, there is a lot of research around perception of colours in how someone is dressed that may be worthy of note:

Red: Associated perception is of a risk-taker and often a ‘love it or loathe it’ colour for hiring managers[i].  Overall strong colours can elicit strong feelings, so while it is good to stand out, perhaps reconsider outfits that can be seen from across the room!

Orange: Associated perception is that of someone with low self-confidence or self-esteem.  Not something you particularly want a future employer to associate with you in an interview! According to Ben Parr’s book: Captivology: The science of capturing people’s attention.  The automatic response to sights, sounds, and colours, has a pretty powerful effect on our subconscious.  Furthermore it has the greatest association (25%) among Hiring Managers with someone who is unprofessional[2].

Brown: Associated perception of reliability and comfort.  Sounds positive, right?  Wrong.  Brown is deemed to be ‘too safe’ in the fast-paced world we live in.  You want an employer to think you’re someone who can innovate, move with the times and stay ahead of the pack. 

Black: Associated perception of professional and stern. If you dress like you’re going to a funeral it isn’t going to do you many favours.  Beware of appearing unapproachable and stand-offish, but used correctly it is an elegant and safe-bet to wear for interview.  Ensure your blacks match and there is no fade for a polished and professional style.

Navy Blue: Associated perception of Team Player.  What better way to get off on the right foot!  Blue inspires confidence and trust and is regularly cited by employers and interviewers as a professional and sophisticated colour to be work.  Blue is also more seasonally-flexible, not looking so severe in summer, yet still sophisticated enough to work seamlessly through winter.  As if that wasn’t enough to convince you to rework the wardrobe, a study by AOL Jobs found that you are more likely to get the job when you wear navy blue to an interview than any other colour![3]

3.Badmouthing a previous boss.  

We all know this is a big interview ‘no, no,’ but still it happens, often by accident or by inference when describing a situation/challenge or skill you have had to employ.  You’re leaving your current job and looking for a new one so it should be apparent to your interviewer that all is not ‘rosey’ with your current employer.   Your recruiter can cover this for you before you get to the interview so the details don’t need repeating. However, you will need to prepare your answers well in advance to ensure negativity doesn’t make you appear unprofessional or unable to cope.  The best approach is to reframe your reasons for moving in a positive light.   This is something ISE Partners will always seek to help you with.

4.Preparation.  Or the lack of it…

Being unprepared for an interview is a sure-fire way not to get the job.   ISE Partners will provide you with the tools to prepare, as much information as we can (fairly) give you on the interviewer and their style, the nuances of the job you’re interviewing for and the background of those you’d be working with.   It is then up to you to look in depth at what you know about the industry, the position of the company within their industry and to think about what challenges they may face and how you can help them overcome those hurdles.

5.Handling questions well.

We all have moments when the mouth opens but the brain is blank.  And none so often as in the interview!  The other situation of course is that the mouth opens and a jumble of information floods out; seemingly without content or end!

Preparing answers to commonly asked questions that reflect your skills and experience positively will also help you to shape answers to more radical questions you’re asked in an interview.   Think of several examples of times when you’ve had to employ the key skills the company is looking for and have them at your fingertips, ready to deploy when needed.   This will greatly help you to develop a library of strong content that showcases your abilities and experiences as clearly and succinctly as possible.

6.Dealing with the unexpected!

Interviews are increasingly more testing and companies are focusing on questions that are designed to see how well you think on your feet.  While these may seem out of context at the time, they are invaluable in testing someone’s character, motivation and beliefs.  All of which form the basis for a successful employment.  In addition, they will give insight in to how you deal with the unexpected, being put under [more] stress, and being moved out of your comfort zone.

The best approach is to take a moment to process what is being asked of you and to respond without seeming flustered.   It is always better to take a moment than to give an inappropriate response but equally, timing is everything; you don’t want to take too long and give the impression of not being able to cope with the unexpected!  Trusting your instinct is a good way to give a truthful and constructive answer to these surprising questions. 

Remember: while you can’t prepare for surprise questions, the better prepared overall you are the calmer you will be and so it follows that your answers will be clearer and more appropriate.

Once all of the above are taken in to context you need to remember one final thing: Interviews are as much for you as they are for the employer.  You are there to see if you want to work for them too.  Your best way to ensure that decision remains in your power is to ensure that you prepare; research; practise; and perform to the best of your ability at every stage of the process.    

Don’t forget! Just because the interview is over doesn’t mean you can’t edit what was said.  By giving thorough feedback to your ISE consultant you have the additional benefit of us discussing things with the interviewer and asking the questions you wished you’d asked, pointing out the examples that slipped your mind, bringing to the forefront an experience you’ve had, or just putting things I context where perhaps it wasn’t so clear in the interview itself.  A last chance to re-write immediate history is how we like to think about it.  Small tweaks that make a big difference to the outcome!


Until next time!




[1] Source: RIB Index, Series 1: What Gets Measured Gets Done

[2] CareerBuilder: Harris Interactive Survey



[i] Civitelli.